As a young Millennial who wants to travel everywhere, save the world, find true love, and have an amazing career — all by the time I turn 24 — I am slowly realizing that some of those huge dreams simply won’t happen. Carpe diem — seize the day — which seems to be the mantra of my generation, echoes endlessly, while life seems to be sliding by. My dreams, or what I thought were my dreams, are disappearing, replaced by the mundane and ordinary.
I don’t have an answer for why my dreams aren’t coming true. But I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s because they’re not about me, or you, and what we all imagine and hope we will do or be.
Maybe life is more about being obedient and less about always going; maybe it’s more listening and less assuming I know God’s will.
I don’t know; I don’t have the answers.
And despite trusting in God, I’m finding that when these big dreams don’t turn into big successes as I’d hoped — and the everyday looks a lot more like two cups of tea, morning traffic, a good conversation with a coworker, and a lot of emails to answer — my heart is disappointed. In those moments, even the good things taste bitter.
I believe God gives good desires and passions to His children to help guide them. So having big dreams is not the problem. The problem is when we replace Jesus with our dreams, and disregard God for our goals. David Platt recently spoke about this attitude, the propensity to “advocate for justice and ignore Jesus.” I’m guilty of this. Advocating for good things is good, but as a Christian, if I leave my faith out, I forego the most importance piece.
I hope this wasn’t the most depressing thing you read today. But I’m not going to apologize for it either. Life is hard. Your dreams won’t all come true.
But. Purpose, dreams, and loving in big ways are all part of God’s plan. This I know. (See proof in Isaiah 58:6-14, Philippians 1:6 and 1 Peter 4:2.) And I know that God always finishes what He starts (see the entire Bible). In Hebrews there is an entire chapter on great men and women of faith, and, honestly, the death of their earthly dreams.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. – Hebrews 11:13–16
Rather than soaking in the bitterness of unfulfilled dreams that I have for myself, I want to have the perspective of these saints. When my heart and hands are tied so closely to goals that I believe I must accomplish in my life, I may be missing the point — putting my goals before God and replacing Jesus with my dreams.
So, yes, let’s push forward into making our God-given dreams realities, but let’s do it with our eyes focused on a better home, using our lives and talents to glorify Him.
Victoria VanBuskirk lives in Columbus, Ohio, and is a graduate of Grove City College. She currently works for a state legislature and runs the nonprofit she co-founded, Flora Stationery, which #fundsfutures of women in Eastern Europe.